Intended for healthcare professionals


A third of world’s women have been sexually or physically abused by a partner, says WHO

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 24 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f4077
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

Violence against women is a “global health problem of epidemic proportions,” says a report from the World Health Organization.1

The study of the effects on health of violence against women found that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner. It also found that, globally, 7% of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than their partner.

Women in South East Asia were most at risk of violence from a partner, with 38% of women there having experienced abuse, followed by 37% of women in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean and Africa region. The Western Pacific region and Europe had the lowest prevalence, at around 25%.

Women in western Europe, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan were more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone other than …

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